The Kandy Esala Perahera is the culmination of over 1700 years of history, tradition, and artisanship and during the annual event, the citadel of Kandy comes alive in a breathtaking pageant of sound and illumination.
This year’s event was held between the 13th and 23rd of August, with all customary affairs being carried out under vigilant health and safety guidelines.
Due to the travel restrictions in place, the countless enthusiasts that participate in the event every year were denied the opportunity. However, due to special efforts made by Sri Lanka Tourism working in conjunction with Sri Dalada Maligawa’s Media Bureau, the entire event was made available via live streaming.
Speaking about the event, Ms. Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism opined, “The Kandy Esala Perahera alone brings in countless visitors from across the world, with some devotees making it an annual pilgrimage. Due to the prevailing circumstances, we planned for the event to be live streamed, allowing them the opportunity to participate in the joy and celebrations from the safety of their homes”.
“This year’s event drew inspiration from a similar situation in 2020, where the Dalada Perahera was also live-streamed. 2021 was even better, due to our learnings and experience from the first event and the increased reach and engagement with a wider Global audience,” she also noted.
The Perahera was live streamed in 7 different languages including English, Sinhala, Tamil, Thai, Chinese, Cambodian, and Japanese and had a viewership of close to 16,000 internationally. The online promotion of significant events and sites is a part of Sri Lanka Tourism’s innovative effort to promote the island even in times of crisis.
This strategy ensures Sri Lanka remains a top-of-the-mind destination among its target audience enabling a faster road to recovery for the entire sector once borders reopen. This live streamed event is similar to the immensely successful ‘Couch Safari’ campaign led by Sri Lanka Tourism which offered viewers uniquely immersive experiences to explore the natural wonder of Sri Lanka’s national parks during the prolonged lockdowns.
These efforts reflect the government’s overall vision and strategic plan for enhancing Sri Lanka Tourisms Global positioning as a must-visit destination in Asia.
A collective effort is currently underway to ensure a technology-based tourism sector, which will allow the island to appeal to a wider audience, looking for unique, yet accessible experiences.